146 posts • joined 24 Oct 2011
Re: Unicorn hunt
My local hospital withholds their number when robo-calling to remind of appointments, which means that an increasing number of these calls will be automatically blocked by BT Call Protect and suchlike.
They think they can't change it without having a new phone system, which they can't afford...
Re: And people wonder why we dumped our landline ?
TrueCaller should be banned by the ICO. It rifles through your contacts list, stealing the names of people without their knowledge or consent and then disclosing this personal information to people that they call.
But the ICO is totally useless, along with all the other so-called watchdogs, so absolutely nothing will happen.
Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...
>"The frequency doesn't bother me, I simply refuse to make any form of contact when it will (A) cost in terms of postage, or phone call, and (B) does not guarantee anything to stop them turning up to "inspect my home".
You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, use the form at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/cs/contact-us/question.app or send an unstamped letter to Customer Services, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL. It's the address for cheque payment, so they will accept it.
Just tell them you have withdrawn their Implied Right of Access, and if they still keep threatening to send the boys round you'll take action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
That will stop them hassling you ! In any case, they do not have any right to enter your property without a search warrant.
Re: Don't call it a tax
You've forgotten the really obvious alternative - subscription.
No ads, no direct government control.
Re: Please someone tell me why I should pay the license fee?
Another difference is that the essentials of education and healthcare can involve significant outlay at the times when they are needed, so a state scheme funded by taxation smooths the peaks and trough and makes it affordable for everyone all the time.
In contrast, PAYG TV is completely realistic because it's affordable. I don't like Murdoch, but at least you can choose whether to subscribe to watch his rubbish and he doesn't come banging on your door or send you to jail if you don't pay.
Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...
Brilliant ! But watch out, the Ministry of Food will pop round to invalidate your Ration Book...
Re: It is really easy to opt out now
There is no obligation whatsoever to communicate with TV Licensing: they imply that you have to tell them if you don't need a licence but that's not the case. Similarly, they have no right of entry except in the unlikely event that they have a valid search warrant. And mere possession of a TV in the UK does not require a licence, it's how you use it that counts.
However, if you don't have a licence you'll be hounded with ever increasing ferocity. If so, a letter (from 'The Occupier') withdrawing their Implied Right of Access and threatening action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 works wonders, and they will leave you alone for ever, not just two years.
Re: My decorator...
You DAB display will tell you that the DAB simulcast is mono whereas RDS will tell you th FM version is stereo.
My Wileyfox Swift happily receives FM when in Airplane Mode.
Re: Spawn of Satan
It's existed for years: it's 1477, Automatic Call Trace.
But good luck in getting it activated on your line, the call centre drones will deny all knowledge of it.
Bad designs still pollute the sky
Shame that no thought has been given to the installation in the photo. The angle of the 'Hitler salute' arm means that even though most of the light may be emitted perpendicularly from the luminaire, a significant amount will have an upward component which will be wasted.
We need a swingeing tax on all outdoor lighting installations that aren't full cut off, so that all the light is used usefully, thereby avoiding pollution of the night sky, light trespass and needless CO2 generation.
Spatial distribution is just as important as lumens per watt, but it's still overlooked.
The lessons of history...
... are that the lessons of history are not learned.
Aah, that probably explains why I was woken up at 0610 the other day by a Facebook SMS asking me to validate my Facebook account. I've never had a Facebook account and never will.
As usual, Ofcom has shown that it is far close to the telcos it is supposed to regulate and does absolutely nothing to help the consumer.
What's the problem with WileyFox, other than making you use TrueCaller which breaches the data Protection Act by stealing all your contacts and publishing the names of owners of the phone numbers therein?
And all the other bundled spyware and the total lack of instructions, but knowing Google I fear that's probably the case with any Android device.
No, they just corrected their spelling mistake, they changed 'Do No Evil' to 'Do Know Evil'...
How do the NHS expect those who have very sensibly opted out of receiving Royal Mail Junk Mail to exercise their right to opt out of medical data slurping??
Oh well, that's BMW crossed off my list...
Re: Yes, I know. I'm a wimp.
Just withdraw their Implied Right of Access, tell them that you are well aware of the licensing regulations and that you will also take action under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 if they issue any further threats or send the boys round.
They won't pester you again.
BTW, there's no obligation to tell them whether you have a TV, nor do you have to let them in to check (except in the unlikely event that they obtain a valid search warrant).
Blatantly ageist poster condemns elders as racist...
There IS a Complaint Button
Or rather, a facility code. It's 1477, Anonymous Call Trace. It stores the offending caller's real number at your exchange for subsequent investigation / action, even if the number was withheld. (Withholding the number only prevents it being disclosed to the called party: it's still transmitted all the way to the destination exchange.)
But good luck in getting it enabled on your line, your telco probably won't even have heard of it.
Re: I always politely hang up, then call them back from the number printed on my card
Not a different phone, a different LINE. However, most exchanges will now drop a call within a few seconds of you clearing down, so the risk of a scammer holding the line open is much reduced.
Bank security is a complete joke
The golden rules of passwords are (1) not to share them between accounts, (2) not to use information in the public domain (3) to change them regularly.
So what do they ALL use ? Parameters that break all three rules: Date of Birth, Mother's Maiden Name, First Line of Address & Postcode, Telephone Number. Obviously no-one ever phones them or sends them cards on their birthday !
Worst of all, when calling back they expect you to provide your security details when they have offered no evidence that they really are calling from the bank. When challenged, they invariably seem utterly bewildered and refuse to provide any info, endlessly repeating the mantra of 'Data Protection'. They still refuse to co-operate even when I suggest providing info that would be useless to anyone else e.g. 'Ignoring the pounds, what's the odd number of pence in my account?'.
The silliest were Flow Energy. Their website told me to enter my DoB from a drop down menu, so I entered one from early in the last century. Two weeks later they rejected my application, saying that it was an invalid date ! They said they were happy with a date other than my real DoB, but it couldn't be an invalid one (i.e. too old) even though their Computer Said Yes.
Truecaller drives a coach and horses through data protection by rifling through your contacts list and publicly linking the numbers to the owners' names without their knowledge or permission. It should be banned by the ICO.
OFCOM: Too Little, Too Late. As Usual.
There's long been a facility in the UK to flag nuisance calls where the number is withheld. It's 1477, Automatic Call Trace. It stores the offending number at the local exchange for subsequent investigation. However, it's not available by default and you'll find it almost impossible to get it enabled - you'll be lucky to find anyone that's ever heard of it.
BT (the most expensive telco) has recently made available a free facility (BT Call Protect) that diverts known nuisance calls to voicemail and also allows users to block various categories such as withheld, international etc. It sounds like it may have some effect.
Unfortunately OFCOM (the Office of the Chocolate Teapot) has not mandated it to be offered by all other telcos. The obvious result is likely to be that nuisance callers will clear down as soon as they hit voicemail, so non-BT lines are likely to experience a massive increase in such calls.
Before long the directors of nuisance calling companies will be personally liable so they won't be able to escape ICO fines by closing down and starting a new company, so that may help. Automatic jail sentences for UK directors using overseas call centres to make nuisance calls to the UK would be even better.
For many years BT has used fake entries in telephone directories to prevent copying, and map makers have used fake streets and landmarks So why not list fake 'honeypot' numbers that route through to the ICO - make a nuisance call to one of those and you're busted on the spot !
I'm none the wiser
Perhaps this is intended only for company IT professions rather than ordinary PC users, but I'm none the wiser. El Reg didn't make things clear, e.g. whether it's relevant and what if anything I need to do.
Similarly, the badssl site is meaningless, as is the USCERT site. The latter is particularly hopeless because its feedback form brings up an Access Denied page and loses all the comments that have been entered, even if cookies are accepted and Ghostery is paused.
OK, I'm probably just thick, but I can't be the only one.
Overseas call centres always leak data
When I was with BT I gave them a unique disposable email address. So far it's received 1420 spam emails. Fortunately they've all been blocked.
Same thing happened with Adobe and Primus Telecom. If you give your details to an organisation with an overseas call centre, expect to be spammed and / or to receive nuisance calls.
Similarly, I give only an 0701 Flextel number out when websites insist on a number, e.g. energy, insurance etc. At over 50p/minute, it doesn't get any nuisance calls !
OFCOMatose is always asleep at the wheel...
When I wrote a British cheque in US dollars...
Many moons ago I fulfilled a schoolboy ambition by collecting someone's car in New York and driving it to San Francisco to deliver it. One dark night I parked it at a meter in Chicago on a main road. I took great care to check the meter, which said that charges only applied from 9am to 7pm. When I ventured out at 8.50am I was astounded to see a $20 ticket stuck to the windscreen. Turned out that hidden in the undergrowth was a filthy old sign that said there was no parking between 7am and 9am. It was invisible at night, not that anyone would would be looking there; the notice on the meter should have spelt this prohibited times in big letters.
I was delivering a mother's car to her daughter who was studying at Berkeley, so my initial idea of just tearing up the unfair ticket might have caused problems for her. The Chicago jobsworths were most unhelpful, repeating that 'a parking ticket is a parking ticket' so I thought I'd show theoretical willingness to pay by posting them a NatWest cheque made out in the sum of "$20 or £8". (Yes, it was a long time ago.)
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when my next bank statement arrived showing a debit of £8 along with the paid cheque bearing several colourful rubber stamps (they used to return cheques in those days) !
Vaping does normalise smoking
'Normalisation' is a perfectly good argument against vaping. The tobacco companies will always support anything that promotes the acceptability of smoking tobacco or raises its profile, no matter how subtly. Get 'em young !
Fifty years ago, one of the ploys was 'sweet cigarettes', a sugary edible lookalike. Of course, it didn't make any five year old dash out, buy a packet of 10 cancer sticks and start puffing away, but it helped to sow the seeds of association, implying that one day you'd be old enough to use the real thing.
Today they'd love vaping to be allowed everywhere, including No Smoking areas, because it makes it harder to spot anyone smoking tobacco: try distinguishing a vaper from a smoker on CCTV. Fortunately, this has failed because almost all organisations include vaping in smoking bans.
Besides, who knows what's in the vaping goo? Of course, they'd never flavour it with anything addictive or something that research showed created a craving for tobacco, would they?
Are you a Smart Person?
Smart People have Dumb Meters. Dumb People have Smart Meters.
Re: Two reasons
Feel free to use that strapline as often as possible. The more people that become aware of the Smart Meter Scam, the better.
Shut Those Shop Doors !
Most shops seem to leave all their lights on whether they're needed or not, as well as trying to heat or cool the entire High Street because they leave their doors wide open in all weathers. Smart meters won't make a jot of difference here, it's their customers that have to foot the increased energy bills.
It would cost virtually nothing to pass a simple law banning heating or cooling of retail premises when the doors are left open. That would save far more energy than smart meters ever will.
Re: Two reasons
Close, but not quite right. Yes, remote disconnection will be used to give you your own private power cut when it's cold and dark and we find we really do need all the power stations the bean counters said we it was cheaper not to build.
However, there won't be any saving on meter readers (which would have been minute anyway, how much does it cost for a two-minute minimum wage visit every year or two compared to the £400 cost of installing smart meters?). There will still have to be periodic 'safety' visits (translation: to make sure you're not bypassing the meters to get free energy).
The real second reason is price hikes and Confusion Marketing. You'll have to pay more for an Uninterruptable Tariff to stop the Smart Meter cutting you off when there's not enough juice to go round, and you'll have to pay more per kWh if you use lightbulbs after dark, or don't cook Sunday lunch at 2am while you do the washing and tumble drying.
Dumb People have Smart Meters. Smart People have Dumb Meters.
The second SIM is only 2G
The problem remains that the second SIM can only handle 2G, so even with 4G coverage you still can't have two Three SIMs active at the same time.
You can switch the designated 'clever' SIM from one socket to the other but this is laborious and takes quite some time, and you would still lose incoming calls from the SIM that is not active.
Steer clear of Wileyfox !
The original Wileyfox Swift isn't a proper dual SIM phone. Only one SIM can use 3G which is a massive let down if both your SIMs are 3G only (e.g. Three in the UK) because for one SIM you'll forever be told the network is unavailable.
No instructions came with it so I'm still finding by trial and error how it works and trying to stop it spying on me and doing all sorts of untoward things behind my back.
Similarly, I wasn't impressed by the bundled Truecaller app which breaches the Data Protection Act by snaffling other people's private details from your Contacts list and making this available to all and sundry without their knowledge and without their permission.
It could have been a really great phone, but unless and until Wileyfox change their ways I'd steer well clear of them. The fact that the battery is no longer removable does not inspire confidence.
Re: For walkers too
The new LED lights in my station car park are normally dimmed but brighten significantly when motion is detected.
Re: These idiots woke me up TWICE !
No, it would certainly NOT be a good idea to be forced to turn my phone off and be uncontactable, just in case a stupid wunch of bankers think it's a really bright idea to keep sending me spam texts in the wee small hours. None of my accounts had been hacked, and even if they had, what could I do about it at 0428 anyway?
If they do it again I'll track down their CEO and call him or ring the doorbell to complain at a similar time and see how he likes it.
These idiots woke me up TWICE !
I was rudely awoken at 0426 this morning by a text message. Fearing that it was some absolutely terrible news, a life changing ‘Death or Disaster’ message, I was infuriated beyond belief to find that that it was merely a TescoBank press release about online banking that had been widely publicised the previous day. TescoBank had also sent me a very similar text late Sunday afternoon and I had already checked that all my accounts were in order.
Unbelievably, I was then woken up again at 0448 by a third very similar text message from these idiots...
Re: Sodium Lights
High Pressure Sodium certainly isn't bluish white. It's golden white, the 'Electric Sunshine' that's become the default throughout the UK.
Low pressure sodium lighting is utterly vile - you can't see any colours (which makes it useless for CCTV) and it makes people seem ill because skin looks filthy. It's become a no-no, especially for residential and pedestrian areas.
Re: My other half hated it...
On a Wileyfox Swift you can choose which SIM to use on a call by call by call basis, so what's the problem? The only catch is that it's not a true dual SIM phone because only one SIM can be used with 3G, which is a problem if both SIMs are on Three.
And it has a removable battery !
Just say NOOOOOO....
Yes, you have the right to refuse to have a smart meter, although your existing meter may have to be replaced if it's spinning round or more than about 10 years old.
But expect a barrage of letters trying to make an appointment !
Re: Sony XDR-P1DBP
The Sony obtained a poor rating because its DAB/DAB+ sensitivity is poor when using the earphones as an aerial. Perhaps they form a V shaped dipole which is effectively horizontally polarised, fine for most FM but not so good for the low-powered vertical transmissions that the minimuxes use?
Similarly, when used as a tuner for a stereo hi-fi the Sony's aerial will only be the connecting lead.
Otherwise it's a well-built no-frills pocket portable that's very sensitive on DAB/DAB+. Its choc-ice size means it's no boom box, but it's a good choice as a handy travel radio as long as you are aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
BTW, there's some good DX reception at the moment on FM (and possibly DAB/DAB+).